By PowerBuy // 14 November 2014 // Related Categories: Tips

When a land owner sets out to build a multi-unit apartment block they know it is a complex project. They will start with Architects and Engineers to get the design right and then hire a builder and expect them to hire the trades as required. We just expect that, because it is obvious how complex the project is.

Yet, in many businesses when we want to build an IT system we call on IT help (internal or external) and expect a quick solution. This is because IT systems are not well understood in many businesses, leading to a situation where the slightly sighted are leading the blind.

Invest in a thoughtful IT strategy

The key is your IT team. They must be strategic to lead the change to meet the needs of the organisation, tactical to engage the right technologies and operational to deliver against the plan. If you do not have all of these capabilities in house you will need to extend you IT team with hired help one way or another.

Allow resources for the planning phase.  It takes time and costs money to get the right plan in place but it avoids waste as the systems you build will deliver value to the business. Don’t expect the IT strategy to be decided upon in one visit. Possibly the biggest cause of cost blow outs on IT projects is the lack of planning put into them.

The strategic thinker in the IT team is required to select the best product for the solution and to plan the project delivery phases and identify the technical resources that will be required for delivery phase from the tactical managers to the operational delivery technicians.

Training is important

You IT operational people should be well trained to put the technologies together so they don’t introduce faults that impact the use of the systems. You should expect well-trained IT people when you outsource your help.

Your responsibility is to make sure the staff, who will use the new system, are trained on how to use the new tools to deliver the value to your clients through their ability to deliver better quality products or services. If your new IT systems fail to deliver measurable business results it will be hard to justify further investment in IT.

Expect specialists and a fixed price

Technology is every bit as complex as construction so after the best product set has been selected ensure we have capable technical people to do the installation and configuration after all, we don’t ask the electrician to do the painting when he has finished the wiring nor do we have him do the plumbing. IT systems similarly require specialist skills and knowledge to implement them well. So having a specific product master to deliver the right component of a solution will ensure days are not wasted on implementation leading to cost blow outs.

If you are about to embark on an IT project stop and think about who you need on the team. If you do not have the right resources on your internal team, seek external advice from people who have the skills you need and get a realistic budget for the project you are about to do based on the outcomes you seek not a hunch or a guess.

Cost blow outs on IT projects do not have to happen. Often specialists who know how to do what you need done will be able to give you a fixed price quote for a scoped project. Good planning, the right resources and technologies will bring about a managed outcome.

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